Strategy & Consulting

Lessons from Nike’s customer experience: the power of an omnichannel CX

Written by Pim van Helten on 1, Noth 2022

Of the half a million brands out there, only a handful are nailing their customer experience (CX). Which is interesting, considering that 80% of brands believe they offer a superior CX, according to Bain & Company.

One brand that has seized the CX throne and continues to maintain their reign is Nike. The athletic apparel giant is known and loved globally. Our new guide, How Nike seized the CX throne (which you can download here), delves into the details of what makes Nike the powerhouse it is - from their creative use of technology to their ultra-personalized brand experiences. 

One of my favorite points in the guide is how Nike blends their physical and digital customer journeys to offer an all-round exceptional CX. The brand doesn’t prioritize their in-store experience over digital or vice versa. Instead, they seamlessly integrate the two, giving customers the best of both worlds. Definitely a brand we can all learn from. 

Merging your online and offline experiences can do wonders for your CX. But why is that? And how can you leverage this?

The power of an omnichannel CX

Today’s customers are more connected than ever. As a result, creating a successful omnichannel experience has become essential to a superior CX. Customers are now engaging across digital channels and physical store locations, and the experiences you deliver need to be seamless on both. 

An omnichannel CX ensures customers can engage with you on their preferred channels - whether online or offline. This way it becomes easier to form a positive impression of your brand. Today, 73% of shoppers use multiple online and offline channels throughout the customer journey, according to Harvard Business Review.

Merging the offline and online, Nike style

Nike is no stranger to the benefits of offering a unified CX. They’ve been blending their physical and digital customer journeys for years and continue to do so in exciting and innovative ways.

We partnered with Nike on an activation campaign that showed us just how committed they are to providing a holistic CX that wows customers every step of the way. The goal was to create a highly personalized campaign that showcased their ultra-soft, ultra-springy sneaker, the Nike Epic React. Our approach was centered on bringing the experience and feel of the shoe to customers without them actually wearing it. 

To do this, we designed a 360° experience campaign that enabled customers to experience what wearing the shoe feels like through, the Nike app, and interactive installations in Nike’s flagship stores.

Whether they were at a physical store or in the comfort of their homes, customers could virtually explore the shoe and personalize it to their taste. The experience enabled them to build their own 3D runner based on their answers to questions about their running style and personal preferences. 

Creative elements describing the shoe’s lightweight and bouncy nature helped customers visualize the shoe’s feel: as light as balloons, as soft as teddy bears, as responsive as springs, and so on. The end result was a personalized running experience that could be named, downloaded, and even shared on social media. Try it yourself, you can create your own 3D runner here.

By combining online and offline channels, the campaign offered customers a unified CX and gave Nike the opportunity to connect with their audience through different touchpoints. Apart from winning multiple awards, the project gave customers the chance to experience Nike’s innovative new sneaker in a thrilling and memorable way.

The campaign is just one example of how Nike seamlessly fuses together online and offline experiences to offer a holistic CX. Another testament to this is the Nike app, which offers customers access to in-store features like booking appointments with Nike experts, skipping the payment queue by opting for in-app purchases, and reserving items that are unavailable in-store or don’t meet their specific requirements. Not to mention the Instagram-worthy selfie backgrounds in stores that brilliantly boost the brand’s online presence. 

How Nike seized the CX throne

Get the guide

Why consistency is key

One of the trickiest parts of unifying online and offline experiences is maintaining consistency across the experiences you craft. Consistency is crucial to building trust and providing a positive and memorable CX. 

Most brands struggle with maintaining consistency when scaling up. Digital ecosystems have become more complex than ever before, and there are an increased number of touchpoints that need to be looked after. 

On top of that, teams often have to work with multiple departments, sometimes across different countries and time zones. This makes speaking the same language and keeping everyone on the same page progressively more difficult. 

The answer to tackling these inconsistencies? A design center of excellence.

In a nutshell, a design center of excellence connects all your design systems and files in a hierarchical structure, starting with your brand design system which sits at the top. This core system informs and influences all connected subdesign systems, ensuring consistent and on-brand designs across all products and experiences you build. 

A design center of excellence is essentially the foundation of your digital ecosystem. There’s a lot more to it than its potential to create a more consistent CX. Learn all about what a design center of excellence can do for you in our comprehensive Scaling design guide.

Looking ahead

It’s no secret that the metaverse is transforming the CX landscape. Our online and offline worlds are becoming even more enmeshed, making it all the more important to craft a holistic CX. 

Unsurprisingly, Nike is well aware of this and is already one step ahead. In partnership with online gaming platform Roblox, they’ve created their own metaverse called Nikeland, where visitors can engage with the brand (and each other), access promotional offers, and immerse themselves in various experiences in Nike’s exciting virtual world.

Last year, Nike blurred the lines between real life and virtual reality by bringing Nikeland to life through an incredible activation in their New York store. The first floor was transformed into a physical version of Nikeland through augmented reality (AR). Visitors could dress their personal 3D avatars in Nike products, engage in various AR games, and even design their own mini-games. 

The result of this seamless integration of Nike’s online and offline worlds? A whopping seven million unique visits to Nikeland from intrigued customers all over the world. There’s no doubt these numbers are increasing as you read this. 

There’s a lot to learn from Nike’s long-term success. Of course, I’m aware that not all brands have the same resources to disrupt the CX game as Nike does - but that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Keep innovating, flex your creative muscles, and make your CX strategy a priority above all else. 

Pim van Helten

Pim van Helten


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